I saw that response from Dona Sarkar, who I’m following on Twitter. Since I’ve been following her, from what she shares I could have guessed her response. Dona leads advocacy on Microsoft’s Power Platform, while also running her own fashion house - PrimaDonaStudios.
My own first response was, “wow, talk about a horrible take”.
The thread because of Jack Forge’s post refused to quietly exit my mind. It wasn’t a massive controversy or anything but there was something more.
Then I remembered the 99 Percent Invisible podcast had a series of episodes looking at the history of design in fashion, clothing and textile. And in the very first episode, they identified the relationship between garment construction and engineering.
That’s a tweet I shared about it sometime ago.
That first episode reveals punch cards, among the earliest storage media for computing were used for - get this - design patterns, in making clothes.
A snippet from 99Pi’s “Articles of Interest”, episode 1.
I remember driving to the office listening to that episode and doing everything I could to not pull over and call my wife - she’s a costume designer to say, “AYE!” for no reason at all.
So, when Jack came online to forge a post that revealed ignorance about the history of Jacquard Looms, I felt I had to help untangle the truth.
Fashion and code share a history so closely that even if you don’t personally care about what you wear, their relationship cannot be ignored. How those actual clothing articles are made and why they look & feel like they do are precisely why one might even say fashion is a form of output written in a programming language used by designers around the world.
One more snippet. Programming owes a debt to the fashion industry. We shouldn’t forget it.